Paralegal and Legal Studies
What's New in the Paralegal Studies Program
Don't forget to register for Spring 2017 classes!
Welcome! We are delighted that you are thinking about becoming a paralegal and are
considering MCC to help you reach your goal. Our Advising Guide has details about all three of our program options, and about the profession in general.
Thinking about becoming a paralegal?Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law. Paralegals, sometimes called Legal Assistants, work in law firms, government agencies, business corporations, and nonprofits - anywhere that a lawyer may need assistance. A paralegal’s duties vary widely; you may find yourself in a library researching legal precedent, in an office meeting with the president of a corporation, or at the courthouse recording legal documents. You may be helping to prepare for a criminal trial or calling clients to set up their real estate closing.
MCC's Paralegal Studies Program is approved by the American Bar Association. We are also a member of the Massachusetts Paralegal Association, the Paralegal Association of New Hampshire, and the American Association for Paralegal Education.
For more information please contact the program coordinator, Halye Sugarman.
The Paralegal Studies Program provides certificate and A.S. Degree opportunities for students entering the job market or transferring to a four year college for the baccalaureate program. The Program prepares students to assist either public or private sector attorneys in the economical and efficient delivery of legal services. Courses provide the legal knowledge, practical skills, and ethical values necessary to create a well-qualified professional.
The paralegal program is offered for paralegal education and consists of these three distinct paths:
- The post-graduate Paralegal Certificate is perfect for someone with a prior degree who is either looking for a career change, or who wants to compliment their existing knowledge. It consists of 27 credits (9 courses) and is focused only on legal courses. Although it is not required for certificate students, you are encouraged to take either the paralegal internship or the law office management simulation course as one of your courses in order to increase your chances of finding employment in the field. It is possible to take up to 5 of the 9 courses entirely online, though not all courses are offered in every semester.
- You must already have either an Associate's or Bachelor's degree in any subject area in order to enter the paralegal certificate program. Students who have started or completed an advanced degree of any kind are also welcome. We have had students from the fields such as music, business, education, and the health professions join us, as well as prospective law students.
- The Associate in Science, Liberal Studies – Paralegal Career track is appropriate for a student who does not have a prior degree and who wants to move into a paralegal career right after graduating from MCC. It is a two year program of 60 credits (20 courses) that includes both paralegal and liberal arts courses. There is an internship requirement for this program option that requires students to work in a paralegal placement during daytime hours in the fall or spring as well as attend a weekly seminar. For those students who are not available during daytime hours to take an internship we also offer an alternative law office management simulation course online.
- The Associate in Science, Liberal Studies – Paralegal Transfer track is appropriate for a student who plans to transfer and continue his or her education after graduating from MCC, rather than entering the paralegal workforce. The program also meets the new Mass Transfer requirements which facilitates transferring to a state school. You can transfer to any 4-year college from either of our A.S. degree options, but the Mass Transfer program has tuition benefits attached. See www.mass.edu/masstransfer for more information on this option. It is a two year program of 60 credits (20 courses) that includes both paralegal and liberal arts courses.
All paralegal program options include courses listed as both PAR (Paralegal) and LGL (Legal Studies) in the college catalog. The distinction is important. PAR courses are more appropriate for paralegal students, while LGL courses are appropriate for students regardless of their program.
Upon completion of the Paralegal Studies Program, you will be able to:
1. Identify sources of law in the American government system as implemented by the States and explain how law is made.
2. Work effectively as part of a team or individually, as appropriate.
3. Construct logical legal arguments in support or against specific positions and present their arguments in written and oral communications.
4. Develop, execute and implement an effective research plan to draft legal documents, including legal memoranda, court documents and forms.
5. Identify the legal and ethical principles that guide paralegal conduct and propose resolution of those ethical issues.
6. Prepare, create, and produce legal documents, to demonstrate proficiency in computer programs used in the legal profession, including spreadsheets, legal databases, and e-mail functions.
PAR (Paralegal) Courses - Practical Paralegal Skills
Courses listed as PAR are paralegal courses that have been specifically developed for students in the paralegal program in order to "emphasize practical paralegal skills," as required by the American Bar Association's Guidelines for the Approval of Paralegal Education Programs. Students who do not plan to be in the paralegal program should contact the program coordinator before registering for a PAR course. Most PAR courses are not appropriate for students in other programs.
LGL (Legal Studies) Courses - General Education
Courses listed as LGL are legal studies courses that have been specifically developed to meet the college's general education requirements. Introduction to Law (LGL 101) and Business Law (LGL 102) are approved by the College as general education courses, satisfying the social science requirements. Other LGL courses are appropriate students from any program, and are a great way for students to explore an interest in the law. Most LGL courses include a mix of paralegal students and students from other programs.
Apply now! Every academic year, three scholarships in amounts up to $2,000 each are available from the Muriel G. Hervey Memorial Scholarship fund for selected Paralegal students who have completed at least three paralegal courses. The MCC Foundation web site will have details when they become available. Other scholarships may also be available that you should look into, both inside and outside of the college, such as this scholarship from the Paralegal Association of New Hampshire.